Can You Translate These Slang Words From the 1980s?

Lauren Lubas

What is really being said when someone tells you to, "Bag your face"?

"Bag your face" is one of the Valley Girl slang terms that you hear from the '80s. It might not be the most popular or most used put down, because it was reserved for only the harshest of insults.

You heard the response: "No duh", what is being implied?

Back in the '80s, when someone responded to your statement with "no duh," they were basically telling you that you were behind. They were already in the know about that juicy piece of gossip you were sharing or the fun fact that you were delivering.

If someone has to "motor," what do they have to do?

Oh, did you need me to do the dishes? Sorry, man. I gotta motor. This term later evolved into "gotta run," but it was a great way to tell people that you were out of time and had to get going.

In the '80s, what did "crunk" mean?

These days, crunk means a something a little different, but in the '80s, crunk meant cool or in-style (hip). It was used to explain things rather than people's actions. For example, "That car is crunk!" doesn't mean that your car is crazy drunk.

What were you trying to say in the '80s if you said "Doy" to someone?

It was a little more than "no duh." When you said "Doy" to someone, you were basically telling them that they were stupid for even trying to give you such obvious information. It usually was partnered with an eye roll and a scoff.

What would you call "Dyno"?

Dyno was short for dynamite, which was a positive term. People would often use the word to explain something that they were looking forward to or excited for, like a party or a concert.

When you were told you were "fine" in the '80s, what were you?

"Fine" was used to tell someone that they were incredibly attractive. The term was so popular that it was used throughout the 1990s and even in the early part of the 2000s, Most people wouldn't need this term translated for them today.

"Fricking" was a word used to avoid what in the '80s?

"Fricking" or "Fricken" was a great way to avoid swearing and the F-bomb in the '80s. The term basically meant "very" or "extremely." For example, someone might say, "I'm so fricking mad right now." However, if they were really that mad, they'd probably actually use the F-word.

When "freak" was used as a noun, what did it mean?

While a freak was once known as someone who was odd or weird, it became something so much more in the '80s. You may have heard the phrase "a lady in the streets, but a freak in the sheets."

Now, when "freak" was used as a verb, what did it mean?"

While "freak" has many different definitions based on slang meanings, including doing the wild thing, and snapping on someone or going crazy. However, in the '80s, it originally meant to dance provocatively and grind up on your dance partner.

What was a Hessian?

While someone might think that a Hessian is a German soldier, in the '80s it was the term used for headbangers who loved smoking cigarettes and marijuana. They had long hair, earrings and torn jeans.

Who would you call your homefry?

In the '80s, your best friend was considered your homefry. This word evolved from "homeboy," "homey," and "homebread." Home was considered a safe place back then, and your best friend was a safe person, so the connection makes sense.

If you're a hotdogger, what do you do?

If you grew up in the Midwest in the 1980s, you probably didn't hear this slang term very often, but if you lived in the west, you knew that a hotdogger was a surfer. You may have heard the term on the short-lived cartoon, "Beverly Hills Teens".

If something was "tubular" in the '80s, what was it?

If something in the '80s was beyond cool, it was "tubular." You could use this term to compare two great things and show that one was even better than the other one. For example, you might say "'Rocky' was cool, but 'The Karate Kid' was tubular."

What did the word "Bad" mean in the '80s?

While this term was used before the 1980s as a way to say something was very cool, in the 1980s, Michael Jackson made the term one of the most-used ways to say something was awesome.

"Gnarly" also meant something cool in the 1980s, but what was its original slang meaning?

While "gnarly" eventually became a new word for cool, it was originally used to describe large, hard to handle waves for surfers. These waves were particularly fun to attempt, and the word gnarly soon became a synonym for cool.

When you were told to take a "chill pill" in the '80s, what were you expected to do?

If someone was freaking out for no reason, they were often told to take a chill pill. This phrase was a great way to tell people that their problems weren't as bad as they thought and that they were overreacting.

Someone yells "Psych!" What did they just do?

In general, when someone tried to trick you, they would yell "psych!" then laugh at your shock. This was used in a lot of different ways. For example, if someone offered you a $100 bill, they'd pull it away and yell "psych!"

What was the meaning of the word "jam" in the 1980s?

While "Jam" currently means a song that you love to listen to, in the '80s it meant to get the heck out of where you were. This term was generally used with a little sense of urgency. If you hopped into your friend's car, you might say, "Let's jam, before my mom sees."

What might you call a kicker in the '80s?

Short for *poop* kicker, a kicker was what you might call someone who lived in the country and considered himself a cowboy. You could spot a kicker a mile away in the 1980s, because they wore jeans without holes and flannel shirts.

Who was called a "Noid" in the '80s?

The term "Noid" was made famous in 1982 by Domino's Pizza. The Noid made your pizza cold and no one liked it. Therefore, the term was used to bully those who were considered nerds and geeks.

Which of these would be considered a poofer in the '80s?

Poofers were the girls who had hair so high that it didn't fit in their yearbook pictures. They kept AquaNet in business for nearly a decade, and some of them continue to wear their hair that high.

What occupation was called a "Roller" in the '80s?

Police officers in the '80s were called rollers. This term was specifically for police officers in squad cars. The term either comes from the fact that they would "roll up" on the scene, or their lights would roll.

If the person you are talking to yells "Shut up!" what did they mean?

In the '80s, "Shut up!" was reserved for times when you were telling an unbelievable story. People would either say it because they needed a minute to process the unbelievable nature of the story, or they wanted you to stop lying to them (even if you weren't).

Which of these best defines "wigging out"?

If you were wigging or wigging out in the 1980s, you were going crazy. Of course, in the early 2000s, some might say Britney literally wigged out when she shaved her head.

What did "Yello" mean in the '80s?

If you saw someone you knew or someone you were familiar with, you might say "yello" instead of "hello." There was really no reason for this change, which is probably why this slang term didn't stick or evolve.

If you were "tagging" in the '80s, what were you?

Taggin' was a way to say someone or something was powerful or hard-hitting in the '80s. This term was reserved for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone movies.

How would you describe a person who is "very"?

This term was made famous in the movie "Heathers" in the 1980s. "Very" used on its own was a the short version of "very cool." Of course, it just sounds like you can't complete your thought. I guess that would make you very.

Which of these was your "skitch"?

A skitch was generally a short haircut that could be hidden under a hat. This type of haircut wasn't very popular in the '80s, but some parents probably got sick of seeing the skater dos.

What was "snuffing" in the '80s?

To snuff someone in the '80s was to punch them. While snuffing means something quite different now (i.e. snuff films), it wasn't such a bad term back then ... of course, punching wasn't great, but hey, it wasn't murder.

If someone was referred to as a "space cadet," what was she?

If someone was acting dumb or disoriented and a little slow, they would be referred to as a space cadet, spacey, a ditz or an airhead. These terms were great ways of making fun of people who weren't quick-witted.

Which of these were referred to as "thongs" in the '80s?

Flip-flops in the 1980s were called thongs or thong sandals. The reason is clear: They were basically thongs for your feet. However, their association with underwear probably put a damper on that name.

Your car is "tight"... what is your car?

There were a lot of words for "cool" in the 1980s, and tight was one of them. While the word tight later evolved to mean a woman who had a great body, it originally meant cool, because tight things were cool for some reason.

What is '80s slang synonym for "warped"?

If something was weird, it was considered warped. Another way to say this was "twisted." While it was rarely used to describe people, people often found movies, songs and books to be warped.

Which of these describes a person who was "sprung" in the '80s?

Being in love in the 1980s was being sprung. This could be because of Bambi's spring (has sprung) scene where all of the characters become twitterpated.

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About This Quiz

The 1980s were quite a decade. Musical revolutions were happening in nearly every genre, and all forms of media were bending rules and creating new boundaries to give us some of the most important changes to our history. We wanted nothing more than to revolutionize pretty much everything we touched. We changed art, music, television, movies and (most importantly) the way we communicated. While every generation has its set of slang terms, the '80s brought us slang that was both memorable and cheesy. Some of it may have been a bit crude and insensitive by today's standards, but all of it had meaning. While some of the slang terms of the '80s were regional, most of these words with brand new meanings made it across the country, giving a new life and a new attitude to the generation of the '80s.

If you were an '80s kid or you just have a great sense of nostalgia for the decade, you may know a few of these terms (and maybe you even try to use them today), but can you translate these terms based on their original slang meanings? Take this quiz to see if you're a wannabe or a nostalgia guru. 

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